1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday, Travel

It Is What It Is #SocialDistancing #SoCS

Spring has arrived.

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As it stands, we
welcome
our new reality, even as we resist what that means.

I listen to two US sources, along with the national news here in Canada too.

I’ve been listening to Michael Moore and his podcast since before Christmas, when his main goal was to fight to get #45 out of office. It’s become something else now that most of us couldn’t have seen coming.

I’ve been listening to Rachel Maddow and in her most recent episode, she ended the show by announcing the death of an NBC colleague who lost his life to covid-19 and she lost control and became choked up as she said it.

Most of us aren’t that close to this yet, but who knows what the next weeks and months could bring upon us all.

Panic. Don’t panic. Panic. Don’t panic.

I am one who learned about this coronavirus with a slow dawning, a realization that’s just now beginning to scare me. It was only end of January that I was still relatively oblivious and planning an adventure to walk the Thames River Path in England. This new reality hit me soon after.

Since then, I’ve been around some people, but I now feel the instinct to totally isolate from all people.

Every time I send someone out to run an errand for me, they could potentially pick up this virus themselves. Should I stop this, for their sakes and mine?

I get paranoid with germs (for years) and now. Where are they? How close by are they? Which surface are they living on?

I’ve been cushioned here in my town, in my county, but reality inches ever nearer. I listen to accounts from doctors and nurses who are already seeing emergency rooms and ICU’s full of the sick, numbers then reported on the nightly news and 24/7 online.

I take deep breaths, sitting here and when I step outside, the now spring air streaming into my lungs as I go out with my dog.

I went for a walk, fell and twisted my ankle and skinned my knee, but I got back up again and kept walking. I wanted to feel myself, moving through the world, grateful I am still well.

I went to a medical appointment and it was a breeze compared to how it usually is. The doctor and his pain clinic moved out of the hospital setting and into a recently abandoned medical practise next door. I was in and out, no waiting in a waiting room with a dozen other people, but straight in to the room, after I’d been given a mask to wear. I haven’t worn one since being on dialysis back in the late 90’s.

I sanitized my hands and got my nerve block injections for my headaches, that I’ve been receiving for almost a year now.

I questioned whether I should have gone there, gone out at all, but things moved along so quickly because many patients did decide to cancel.

I worry for my parents. They aren’t in the highest risk group, but they are over sixty.

I worry about my sister, doing her work in the midst of this time of year which is tax season, ever so slightly delayed like school and everything else.

I worry for my brother-in-law who works in a factory.

I worry about my older brother who needs to go into work to support his family.

I worry for my younger brother who had a kidney transplant in 2013 and who has had other medical issues, before and since then. He and I are both immunosuppressed, not currently on dialysis or a cancer patient receiving chemotherapy, but I don’t know how this new strain of virus might act if either one of us were to catch it. I’ve never had pneumonia and the idea of basically drowning when the lungs are overloaded is terrifying.

I worry for my sister who has asthma and her husband who is a type one diabetic, who just recently recovered from mono. They have two young children and I’m only thankful that my nieces and nephews are at much lower risk of contracting this.

My father and mother work still, front line workers really, as she works in a group home and taking care of vulnerable people and he takes people in wheelchairs where they need to go in his specialized cab.

Here in Canada we have a wonderful healthcare system, but we see what’s happening in Italy and we must learn all we can. I feel better sometimes, most of the time, hearing the news here in Canada and feeling I’m safest here when compared to anywhere else, but things can keep getting worse with every case reported and all the ones that aren’t quite yet.

This is not at all how I saw 2020 playing out.

I had a friend who was traveling and another who’s about to. I can’t do much about that, but I still worry. So many who would have not gone and those still trying to get back home.

I have an old friend, from childhood, who moved to Ireland for medical school and is now a doctor there. I don’t know how much risk she’s at since all this, but I keep track of the news of this virus out of that country too.

I can’t control any of this and the last thing I wanted to do was see this happening, but we’ve been warned of a possible pandemic to come. Well it’s here, sweeping across the globe bringing with it waves of destruction and instability.

I worry about people’s jobs and the economy that I understand little about. I studied history and the Great Depression in the 1930’s. I learned about the Spanish flu of 1918 and how that washed over humanity during that time. We’ve come far with medical knowledge and still we are left battered by something so tiny, invisible and deadly in many cases, but people think it’s like any other flu season we’ve known in our lifetime.

I know it may be petty, but I’ve started calling #45 covid-45 because of his unique ability to be cruel and ignorant and incompetent at a time when the whole world needs effective leaders who also care, even just a little.

I like to listen to flocks of birds out my window and above my head. They fly by and I wish I could fly too.

Our winter was mild and yet I’m pleased to feel spring is in the air. I am finding things to bring me a few moments of peace because I know we’re at war, World War III if you want to call it that, but it’s a battle raging on in nearly all places now. It is just now making it to the northern parts of Canada and in our territories. It’s on islands that want to keep it from swamping their systems. The border between Canada and the US and that between them and Mexico, closed to all but essential trade.

Europe is being ravaged by it and it will get into refugee camps and already war torn regions, places across the African continent and in bustling cities where social distancing isn’t a thing.

For humans, in most cultures, having to stop shaking hands or hugging or kissing of cheeks is so difficult to do. Whereas I’m not struggling with that as much as I am to not touch my own face a thousand times a day.

People can’t believe they are in the position, for the first time, of being prevented from travel to their heart’s desire and content. They, we’ve, I’ve always had that option of traveling and the freedom of choice. Yet, when I hear people complaining that they are bored and dreaming of the moment they’re told it’s safe to do so again, I want to scream. I don’t know why, as I’m among them, but I know we’ve all been spoiled when air travel is so common and wanderlust is a thing.

I have multiple rolls of toilet paper here still and am not letting that stress me out, but I don’t like what I’m seeing of people out in grocery stores. I go back and forth between feelings of panic and calm, though I am never sure what I’m panicking about. I can’t pinpoint anything for sure in my buzzing brain.

I can’t concentrate on writing the things I’d planned on writing so far this year. I can’t manage anything more than stream of consciousness writing at the moment.

My dreams are vivid and my waking hours are spent trying not to bombard my head and heart with opinions and facts and statistics.

This is a numbers game, as the saying goes, but this time this is no game we’re playing. I’m no good at numbers games at the best of times.

People who are already greedy or selfish will only look for ways to enrich themselves in this, all while I know this virus can take hold in any one of us, doing as much or as little damage as it sees fit.

People are afraid and in denial as a form of self preservation, but the world is also populated by resilience and brilliant minds already at work.

I’m getting by on the stories that keep coming out, stories of courage from front line workers and from communities coming together to pick up groceries and medications for those who can’t.

We’re depending on our medical professionals and our food delivery drivers and those in the factories and the plants, but they have families and bodies that are vulnerable to getting sick.

I am used to hiding away in my own solitude and I don’t want to start worrying, any time I’m around another person, but maybe now is the time to isolate from friends for sure and now even family members.

I don’t know what to think.

So we are welcoming spring and wondering what’s to come. Some say we’re making more of this than is necessary, like young people who celebrated spring break and think they’re invincible. None of us are invincible.

We humans have our social media now and can stay in touch with loved ones and we should. We’re not used to being constricted in our movements and in our socializing. We’re told to stay in our homes, except for those necessities of life, but we can’t handle being cooped up for long.

Will this last weeks or months or more? We hate to think it could. Loneliness even though we can connect easier than any period in history.

I don’t know where I’m going with all this. I take chunks of time off of Facebook and I watch a show from my childhood. I can recall difficult times in my past and how I made it through and that helps, but this is a new one on me.

I think of my indoor cat now and what his life consists of. Human beings won’t stand for that for long, but I’ve seen some beautiful examples of people in places like Italy and Spain making the best of these circumstances. Each of us and our governments are dealing with this in stages, but sometimes swift measures are necessary ones.

I’m trying to wait this out, to ride it out, but I don’t know what to expect and I know emotions are running high.

I envy the innocence of the children in my life right now, but I’m now afraid to be around them, around anyone. I hate that feeling.

How are all of you coping with all this? I know I’m not alone and neither are you.

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TToT: Thirty-six Pick Up Sticks #BlanketSea #10Thankful

Let’s just dive in.

Ten Things of Thankful #10Thankful

I am a little older and wiser since the tenth of the month and yet I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m headed. Currently, I am listening to a live feed from a famous pub in Dublin, Ireland with live, Friday night entertainment.

I did turn thirty-six recently and my niece and nephew were so excited to start celebrating with me. We had a cake made and sampled by the time my sister arrived with dinner.

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I am thankful for family on my birthday. Even my nearly three-year-old niece sang. She loves to sing.

I am thankful for loved ones who can bring me smoothies, milkshakes, and oranges to soothe my sore throat.

I am thankful my post birthday cold didn’t last too long.

I am thankful for the nerve blocks I’ve been getting.

I am a little wary of being injected in my head, but in the nerves specifically. I have had Botox to try to treat headaches in the past. Nerve blocks are helping one very specific headache I get.

I am thankful to have written a poetry review for a talented artist’s first poetry chapbook.

You can read it here.

If you like what you hear, check her out.

I am thankful for my core group of three writing women who I get to write with twice a month.

They have such unique imagination in their heads and stories they read out to the group.

I am full of gratitude that they share with me in such a special way.

I am thankful we in Canada are starting to work on healing the deep rifts here between Indigenous groups and the government and your average Canadian citizen.

Canada loves the rule of law (unless we’re talking Indigenous rights)

Okay, well if we’re not doing a great job so far, I at least hope everyone doesn’t give up and keeps talking.

I know things seem particularly rough right now, but at least we’re facing these issues, head-on. When we push them down and hope they won’t make too much trouble, it only prolongs any possible solutions.

I don’t pretend to know the answers, but I feel quite emotional about it all when I think of the history of this land and how it will all progress in future.

The live performance at Temple Pub and they are doing a version of this, one of my favourite songs by The Cranberries, after all this time.

It reminds me to keep on dreaming for myself. I am extremely grateful for dreams, but I remind myself of this lyric often:

“Don’t mind dreams. It’s never quite as it seems. Never quite as it seems.”

I am thankful for February. This winter hasn’t been as cold as some likely have been, but still cold enough for complaints, but I love this time of year better than summer.

I am thankful for anything I can do to distract myself from some of what’s going on in the world these days. I’m nervous that 2020 will be a long, rather scary year in some ways, but that’s why I keep doing all the things that bring me fulfillment and joy to balance it all out.

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Mrs. P Sorted Through It #JusJoJan

It’s when my braille translation program got all messed up and what came out from the braille printer made absolutely no sense.

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It was strange to call her Mrs. P at school suddenly. I’d gone for years thinking of her as my friend’s mother. She’d pick us up, make us dinner, and drop us off. All of a sudden, she’s my educator, teacher’s assistant, and I just don’t call her anything at all.

She was the first to use the word
gobbledygook
and I have been a fan of that word ever since.

High school seems so long ago now, like an entire lifetime ago, but I’ve seen a lot of gobbledygook since the early 2000’s.

It all gets muddled with so many voices, spurting out nonsense and opinions all over the place and my headaches persist.

What I’m saying here now is more of the same. I can gobbledygook it with the best of them though.

When most people run their fingers or move their eyes along a line of braille they get only gobbledygook. When I do it, the world opens up to me beneath my fingertips.

I relied a lot on my friend’s mom/educational assistant to sort through so much nonsensical jargon so I could learn what I needed to learn.

Thank you, Mrs. P and
Jim,
for bringing this word to my/our collective minds.

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White and Blue and Cinnamon Too #Synaesthesia #BlueJanuary #SnowDays #JusJoJan

The mall was pleasantly less crowded on this early January day, I spent it out browsing its many stores with a friend visiting from Ireland, and the sun made an appearance; a win win of a day for me I gotta say.

David’s Tea, The Dollar Store (don’t know if it’s actually called that anymore), lunch at the foodcourt and all the while that pleasant scent of cinnamon buns in the air; that was my day – here’s what’s been on my mind.

There’s the
possibility
of a snow day, on any given week, most weeks here in Canada every January.

This brings children joy all around this country, while my friend’s daughter was dying to see the snow Canada promises. No snow days for her in her Irish home.

Canadian kids can sometimes get what feels like countless days off from school every winter. Others aren’t so thrilled about how January seems to stretch out, what seems like indefinitely, because they can’t seem to see beyond these somewhat blue thirty-one days, so soon after the champaign cork popped and the new year was rung in.

Once the memory of a snow day fades and adulthood overtakes, a snow day for schoolchildren is simply the snow the adult must go out super early before work to scrape from the car.

The things that seem hard at one age, school assignments and least favourite subjects, these are replaced with deadlines and annoying coworkers, but it’s more than work stress that’s getting to many at this time of the year and no day off or work perk is going to thrill like it might otherwise have done.

It’s all relative.

There are those usual headaches if you’ve grown up here, lived here, and some thrills too, depending on what age you are.

I try to look ahead, even as January drags on into February and the snow persists. It isn’t the snow that bothers me so much. I feel refreshed by it, invigorated by it almost, but the month of January (while still holding the thrill of unknown possibilities to come in the remaining months of the year, feels like a blue month to me.

My synaesthesia colours January as blue in my head. I see it, even if nothing else, but it hurts me to see how many feel that blueness deep inside. I love the colour blue, but it means depression to so many I know and love and have known and loved. I see it in lots of places I look.

While the future is likely to bring new periods of colour and feeling and hope, that isn’t so easy to notice whilst in the middle of the month of January.

I wish I could make it all better for those people. I wish I could hug them and reassure them everything will work out, but while I can predict a number of possible outcomes for anyone of us, I can’t make them believe anything in the first month of a new year, not when their environment tells them the darkest days of a wintery January might never ever lift the cares and worries from their shoulders.

I wish, for so many who deal with a blue January, every day could be like a first snowfall for a visiting Irish child: pure joy in all that white stuff falling from the sky to cover the ground in a blanket of delight.

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Thanks,
Jill,
for all the possibilities this prompt offers for things to jot down our thoughts on.

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TToT: For Those Rookies I Love and Remembering To Breathe #PeaSeason #JustBreathe #10Thankful

I spend a lot of time being attracted to songs with messages about remembering to breathe. I do it, of course, and I’m thankful I can. Still, I’m most thankful for music and reminders of such a thing.

Tough year so far, ups and downs, but if it weren’t for a few familiar favourites about this time of year, I would be totally lost.

I haven’t done one of these in months. It’s partly from the tough year and partially because the whole process of this
Ten Things of Thankful
thing is different now than it once was.

Yet, I am back and trying to fill out this middle of 2019 with a few items of gratitude and this is the place to do that.

I am thankful for July being the month for fresh peas.

They’re so fresh tasting, sweet yet healthy. I am thankful for the whole podding process that I am expert in after so many seasons of practice. It’s so sweet to me that my niece and nephew love peas too. I don’t even mind doing the podding for them, especially, and even the sharing of the final product. If I’m going to share my favourite fresh vegetable with anyone, it’d be those two. I try not to feel affronted when the two-year-old takes too many in a handful or one or two or a few more are dropped. (Common mistake for a rookie.)

I’m thankful for new experiences for those I love most. I can stand a difficult time of it for myself a little easier if I know someone else I care about is having a memorable time of a summer.

I’m thankful for the return to regular summer days amongst the really humid days.

There’s a big difference between when the sun is hot but the air is still fresh, with a lovely breeze and those days when it’s a sauna in the very air I need to breathe.

And, of course, I’m thankful for AC because, though I know I am spoiled in that, I am grateful I don’t have to tough it out.

Such heat and humidity is one of the main triggers I’ve so far discovered with my pain and headaches and I am glad I have another option.

I’m thankful we’re getting some more exposure for our show from a media source like
Accessible Media Inc.
with a feature on their TV network.

Check out Outlook on AMI This Week.

This was four months in the making.

The media are maddening in many instances, but some cases prove the opposite of that.

So, soon we say goodbye to July and summer half over. That may anger some, but I am looking forward to September.

I can’t say when I’ll be back here, but I’m thankful for my blog, always.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0r1AJMK79g

I need those reminders to breathe, between the other lyrics that get me through, especially with the headlines in places all over the world today.

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TToT: Thirty-five For Me and Five For Her Headache, #Blogiversary #10Thankful

Here, I hope to leave something behind when I go. Here, I won’t look back with any shame or regret at what I’ve said, what I’ve written. I am proud to be Her Headache.

I am
thankful
for this blog and all those who’ve found me here and read what I’ve written on these virtual pages, ever since that 2014 February of my thirtieth birthday.

As for how to celebrate my five-year anniversary with this space, I couldn’t quite settle on how to best show my gratitude and my pride on all that this blog has brought to my life.

In the beginning, it all started with me showcasing my
BUCKET LIST
of items I’d wanted to experience.

Since my kidney transplant, twenty-two years ago, I am all about not taking each day for granted and my list was a way of stating my purpose and no longer settling for less out of fear. Things like chronic pain and disability threatened to take away a life worth living, but I fought against that and found this blog as a part of that.

In this last five years, I’ve been lucky to check off several things on the list, though I am enjoying the ups and downs of the journey, as I’ve learned that to be the best part of the whole thing really.

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Still, I can’t stop wondering where life will take me and so here we go with the review of the things I have done and seen in five years that I may not have dreamt I’d do, during the most difficult days in my past:

I am thankful for the teacher I’ve had, for the last three years, since I decided to take a chance to learn to play an instrument in my thirties. Violin was beautiful to me and I wanted to learn to play with a bow, to produce those kinds of heartbreakingly gorgeous sounds I’d heard from the violin for years. I was drawn to it since I gave up on clarinet back in high school. (Too much air needed, blowing into that thing, which was hard on my head, prone to headaches already.)

She is leaving on a new adventure soon and I must face that thing I often dread, “Change”.

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I am thankful for my violin and the progress I’ve made so far, even when I get down on myself for not learning more, faster.

I am thankful for my autumn of 2018 visit to the Maritimes, Canada’s eastern provinces, even my short visit and the limited bit of Nova Scotia I saw. I am thankful I got to place a small item, a token of my appreciation for her gift of iconic literary characters like Anne Shirley in Canada’s cultural landscape, on her gravestone. I got to write a note of my gratitude, from one writer to another, in the guest book in the house Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in. I was brave to finally state, in writing, that I think of myself as a writer, even up next to someone as talented as Montgomery.

I am thankful I got to walk along those Prince Edward Island beaches, the coastline and the smell of the sea. Red Point. The End of the World P.E.I. and the force of the wind at that spot, lighthouse next to a drop down to fearsome ocean roaring down below me.

In these last five years, (not only out east) but I’ve traveled to Mexico, Yukon, British Columbia, and back to Florida for the fourth time.

I am thankful I got to make it to my twenty-year anniversary with my kidney, from my father, and that I got to celebrate that with him and my family and friends, zip lining at my favourite Niagara Falls on the Canada side. I hope to zip line in more places around the world in future.

I am thankful I technically did get my writing available in bookstores, when I wrote a short piece which was included in a print magazine called Misadventures. It was only available in Barnes & Noble, in the US, so a friend went into one and took pictures for me of that magazine on the shelf. I hold that book in my hands and am proud to know I have writing inside of it.

I thought it fitting to make my five-year blogiversary into a TToT post, one of the best things to come out of this blog since 2015 when I discovered other bloggers doing it and I joined their exclusive TToT blogging community.

Thank you, TToT comrads and all of you, for visiting me here. You’re the best.

All jokes aside on the wisdom of getting older, as I turn thirty-five and look back and look ahead, I know the fun is in the journey, not necessarily its destination. Still, I will always write about it all here, or for as long as I am meant to,

Where will I be in five years? And, how will I have gotten there?

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Catching Up On “Just Jot It January” 2019 #JustJoJan #SoCS

I don’t make
resolutions.
and still, I do
like to reflect through podcasting,
by a roaring fire.

I do like the idea of choosing a word for the year. My 2018 word was “stoker” and I looked at it as I was not going to stay quiet anymore. I was going to stir things up a bit, if I could.

As part of the
Canadian Federation of the Blind,
I would make some noise about the inequalities I see all around me.

I learned about how such organizations work. I learned how much work there still is to be done.

I wanted to make my local movie theatre and all movie theatres more accessible and tried, through survey, to ask other blind Canadians their thoughts.

I wanted to make my library, not to mention all public libraries, more equal in the literature on hand.

I felt like I failed, for the most part on both these things, but stay tuned to 2019 and see what happens. That’s precisely what I intend to do.

Okay, so with a new year starting and some Internet difficulties, I am late to the
Just Jot It January #JusJoJan
party, but I am here now, quite possibly breaking some rules to start the month off right.

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I’ve taken part in this January blogging ritual for the last two years I believe.

No, wait, three. Three, really?

Three years with this January blogging activity and now, here we are at four.

Five years with this blog, which I started on my thirtieth birthday, to face my fear of rejection and get my writing out there.

I don’t know how much of a theme it is, beyond the writing that I love, but I chose to call it Her Headache because I write about life and life has brought me headaches of all kinds, painful in the head and in the heart too. It has transformed my life, along with everything new and wonderful happening since entering my thirties.

It’s been great, leading to many wonderful opportunities, but as I start a new year, I struggle to find my footing. As I head toward my five year anniversary
with this blog,
next month, I am unsure where I am going with this space and hope to figure it all out. Jotting down some ideas throughout the month may just help.

From now on, rest of the month, I’ll write something, every day, except on Wednesday, where I take a break.

I am finding this life, this life of mine to be rather
enigmatic,
but that’s the journey, and the journey continues as I jot. So onward I go.

However, I could never forget my usual Saturday blogging ritual.

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This week’s
Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS
(the first to combine this month with Just Jot It January, on Saturday) gives a lot of prefixes to choose from.

I suppose I’ll only go with one, as the day grows late.

I suppose I made it through all the years before now and I’ll do the same this year.

I suppose I am being selfish, worrying that somehow #45 will mess up my travel plans with this silly corner he’s painted himself into, when so many American workers are the ones working and not being paid.

I suppose I should stop worrying so much about all the things that might not happen, most likely won’t ever happen.

I suppose 35 isn’t really so different from being the 34 that I am now.

I suppose this year has a lot in store, even though that little voice in my head likes to try and convince the rest of me that there’s nothing left yet to experience.

I suppose I will just have to wait to find out.

Also, thanks,
VirgoBeauty,
for the first guest contribution to this month of jotting.

Blogging. Jotting. Blogging. Jotting. They won’t all be as long as this one.

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